I keep hearing about a new city comprehensive plan. What is that all about and what do I need to know?

The City of Carmel’s Department of Community Services – the department that handles land use and zoning issues on a regular basis – has been working on a new update of the comprehensive plan for the city’s growth that will guide city planners and decision makers for the next decade or longer. The last update took place in 2009 and served the city well, but with recent growth in our central core and changes seen in business and residential patterns, the time has come for another update.

Significant changes to the physical environment have made it attractive to new employers, employees, visitors and residents.

The city has engaged the team of Greenstreet and YARD & Company to assist City planning staff and leadership in updating the comprehensive plan around growth management, land use, transportation and environment. Known as “Our City Our Plan,” this update will help to refine goals related to growth for the next 10 years.

To put 10 years in perspective …
Since the last drafting of the Comprehensive Plan in 2008, we have seen the near universal adoption of smartphones, a spike in the baby boomer population, two significant economic recessions, the most recent of which brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently experiencing.

Amidst all of this, Carmel has been doing relatively well. Significant changes to the physical environment have made it attractive to new employers, employees, visitors and residents. The growth of City Center and improvement of the Monon Trail through a new Midtown has established a strong urban core.

The city has in many ways begun to grow up instead of out. This emerging pattern of development is necessitating a refreshed look at mobility, public space, our mix of uses, urban densities and economic and environmental resilience.

The engagement process for the Comprehensive Plan spanned a year’s worth of focus group meetings, surveys, neighborhood popups throughout the city, an online conversation series and open office hours for residents and business owners to share input.

Yet, there is still time to learn more about the plan and offer your thoughts. The Plan is currently being considered by the Carmel Plan Commission and will then be considered for adoption by the Carmel City Council. Every step of the was offers opportunities for you to listen to debate and offer your opinions.

You can read the entire plan or download it by visiting this website.
There is even a simple, online way to offer feedback.

Authored by Laura Campbell, Sue Finkam, Kevin Rider, Jeff Worrell, Sue Finkam, Bruce Kimball, Miles Nelson, Anthony Green and Adam Aasen.